Sunday, March 23, 2014

More Quebec City

Clearing the Roof by susanvg
Clearing the Roof, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Winter is long and snow is a constant. Roofs have to be cleared frequently to avoid snow falling on passersby. Steep roofs are designed to let the snow slide off to avoid too heavy a load on the roof. Many roofs have little snow fences to keep the snow from falling on unsuspecting heads.

Stone Houses

Many of the buildings in  Vieux-Québec  are stone, with tall windows. Note the snow fences.

Stairs Going Up

Walking in the old part of Quebec means many hills and many stairs. Basse-Ville (lower town) is where the port is. This photo is part way down. Looking up you can see the Chateau Frontenac, a landmark hotel.

Looking to Lower Town

Here you can see part of lower town. Now there are many shops, many aimed at tourists.

Over the River

The defences for the city were in the upper part of the city, with canons facing the river. Many are placed there along Les Ramparts.

City Gate

The original city was entered through one of the stone gates. This one is lit up as the Crashed Ice championship was being held int he city. The course went right through the gate. For anyone who doesn't know what crashed ice is (and I only learned about it because this was across the street from our hotel), the course goes down the hill with sections going up. People (crazy people I should say) skate down this course. I have no clue how it is judged. I don't think it is just time as there were judges placed in several spots down the course.

Down the Course

I am sure they never saw this view as they hurtle down. I enjoyed it.

One of the Crazy Skaters

Here is one of the crazy skaters.

Monument to Giving Women a Voice

We walked a lot over the 3 days. This sculpture sits on the grounds of the National Assembly, Quebec's parliament buildings. It represents the progress of women. The three together are suffragettes: Thérèse  Forget-Casgrain, Marie Lacoste Gérin-Lajoie and Idola  Saint-Jean. Women in Quebec did not get the vote until 1940.  Marie-Claire Kirkland was the first woman elected to parliament in 1960. Even then she could not sign a lease for an apartment in the city without her husband's signature. Learn more here.

Quebec is beautiful in any weather.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bury Your Dead

Morrin Centre by susanvg
Morrin Centre, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
My spouse and I read Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny together. I enjoy her mysteries and this one was particularly fun as it takes place in Quebec City. We spent a few days there this past week so I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the places mentioned in the book.  Above is the Morrin Centre, once a prison, later a college that was affiliated with McGill University and for some time now, the home of the Literary and Historical Society, an anglophone institution in Quebec. It features prominently in the book.

The Lit and Hist

This is the library in the Morrin Centre - the only English library in Quebec City. The book, aside from being a fun read, is a great way to learn more about the history of the Literary and Historical Society (the Lit and Hist) as well as the history of Quebec City.

Le Petit Coin Latin

We had breakfast here - a favourite of my spouse, who spent about six months living just up the street from this café. The characters in the book frequent this café at 8 1/2 rue Ste-Ursule.


The cafe is across the street from 9 3/4 Ste-Ursule which also features prominently. Each building has a number. If there is more than one door to the building it gets differentiated by being 1/2 or 3/4...

Typical House in Vieux Québec

Vieux-Québec (Old Quebec) is full of stone buildings with metal roofs and windows surrounded by wood. Many buildings date from the 1700s and 1800s. There are a few buildings still standing fromt he late 1600s. Could this be the stone home of Émile on St-Stanislas?


Quebec is known for great food. Paillard is a bakery, with lots of tables for people to sit and linger over coffee and whatever tempts you.

On Rue St-Jean

Le Café Buade is in a building that dates from the 1800s. There has been a restaurant here since 1919. We, like the characters in the book ate here. Cafés are a great place to linger - to chat, to read (or to discuss a criminal case as in the book).

St Andrew's

This church, around the corner from the Lit and Hist features in the book. It is an English church - most in Quebec are French Catholic.

Café in Vieux Québec

And yet another cafe - a great place to stop for a meal. We stayed a while and worked on a crossword. We had done a fair amount of walking up and down the hills of Vieux-Québec.

More Quebec pictures to come. And do think of reading the book!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Picture in Picture

Picture in Picture by susanvg
Picture in Picture, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Had a lovely day on Sunday (except for the bitter cold). I walked from my place to a lovely cafe, Nocochi where I had lunch with a special friend. Then we went on to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the Peter Doig exhibit. While neither of us were blown away by the exhibit, we both liked some of the canvases. And both of us were struck by the quote at the entrance to the exhibit "There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign." Robert Louis Stevenson.

So important to remember that as a traveller. While the world is flattening and it is possible to find much that is familiar wherever we go, we should search out the unfamiliar and get to know the new places.

Peter Doig has immersed himself in many places, from Scotland, where he was born to Canada, the UK, Germany, Trinidad (where he now lives). Interesting to see his work, but, despite the astronomical prices it now fetches, it didn't really speak to me.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Bank of Montreal

Bank of Montreal by susanvg
Bank of Montreal, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Solid - bank architecture of the past gave a sense of the weight of the institution. This is the headquarters of the Bank of Montreal. Finished in 1847 this building sits prominently at Place d'Armes in Old Montreal, opposite Notre Dame Church, another symbol of power.

Saint-Sulpice Seminary

Beside the church is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Montreal, The Saint-Sulpice Seminary, built in 1687 (the clock dates from the early 1700s). The Catholic Church played a decisive role in Quebec's history. The Sulpicians were among the first settlers in New France. They saw as part of their role to educate the native population, and, of course, convert them to Christianity. They held large properties throughout the island of Montreal.
You can learn more here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

More to Come

More to Come by susanvg
More to Come, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
It's starting - the snow is expected to intensify and drop up to 25 cm (almost 10") over the next 24 hours. March is such a tease. One day can be above freezing, the sidewalks bare and the smell of spring in the air and then winter strikes again.

A Little Rhythm

At least the intense cold has broken, though nights can still be quite chilly. Well - we take what we get, venture out and find the beauty and are fortunate enough to come home to a warm abode, with a hot cup of tea to warm our own interiors!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

On a Walk

Gazebo by susanvg
Gazebo, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Thanks to my blogging friend, Barb, I have discovered Waterlogue, an app that transforms photographs into the look of a water colour painting. So here is my walk - a usual one that takes me through a park past this gazebo.

Former Post Office

I love the old post office building, now being used as offices.

House in Winter

The snow still covers the ground, though the sun has started to melt it. Night time temperatures drop, but these sunny days are splendid!

Gazebo 2

On the way back I took another shot of the gazebo. I liked this different colour palette, so I have included it here. Not my usual photographs - but fun to explore a new way of seeing things.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Along the Path

Along the Path by susanvg
Along the Path, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
At last a perfect winter day with the temperature up around -8 C with sun and a vibrant blue sky. I felt myself grow as I could walk without hunching into my coat. I walked with a friend, enjoying conversation, but also the silence. It was broken by the sound of a chickadee (you can hear a sample sound here). My friend's eagle eyes spotted it - I took a bit longer.


I think, it too, was enjoying the warmer weather. And soon it was joined by another little bird. So nice to stop and hear them call.

College Ste-Anne

We walked along the marina, the slips for the boats just visible under the snow. Across the water we had views of Lachine. Walking on a winter day is a delight in weather like this.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bundled Up

Bundled Up by susanvg
Bundled Up, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
It's always fun to come across the unexpected. I photographed this sculpture last winter, but this year I had a surprise. Some kind soul had knitted a hat and scarf to keep this fellow warm.

Keeping Warm

I'm not sure it warmed him up, but it certainly made me smile. It has been a very cold winter. I'm getting tired of walking around like a turtle, with my head pulled into my coat as much as possible. When the weather warms we stand up straighter. It will come.... but when?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Le Malheureux Magnifique

Le Malheureux Magnifique by susanvg
Le Malheureux Magnifique, a photo by susanvg on Flickr.
Photos: February 26, 2014

I passed this sculpture on my way to meet up with others for dinner. It represents despair, sadness, but also reflection. As a bitter, damp wind whipped at me, I felt that heaviness of feeling no end to winter.

Le Malheureux Magnifique (another view)

I refuse to let winter get me down. Once inside the restaurant, the warmth of family and friendship cancelled out those wintery blues. The evening happened because we had tickets to see Margie Gillis. She is a contemporary dancer who has broken many preconceived notions about dance. She is 60 and was celebrating 40 years of choreographing. Her usually one woman shows are trips into many human emotions, and yes - despair is sometimes featured, but also incredible joy. She does not have a typical dancer's body, yet she embodies dance. She conveys the human spirit in an honest, open way, its frailties, its anguish, its complexities and its pleasures. At 60 she is a model for women conveying the vibrancy of women of this age. What a pleasure to watch her.

You can see excerpts of her dance here.

More information on the sculpture (only in French) or go to my Flickr image